GTS and Vitritech create new types of laser glass

Aug. 21, 2019
The two new materials add to the range of glasses already produced by GTS and Vitritech for use in photonics.

Glass Technology Services (GTS; Sheffield, UK) and sister company VitriTech have developed two new types of glass for ultrafast lasers, which the companies say can bring significant cost benefits to the UK’s £5.3bn photonics sector. In partnership with Leeds and St. Andrews Universities and M Squared Lasers (Glasgow, UK), the companies have built on earlier work by GTS to produce two new laser glasses and are now at the point of developing a pre-prototype laser system using this material.

The new laser materials will be used for applications including secure communications (quantum encryption) and microscopy (fluorescence microscopy).  In tests at St. Andrews University, the laser materials have successfully produced ultrafast laser pulses of 115 fs.

The research and development work on the two laser glasses at GTS have been produced in a project called "ULTRA-Glass," one of a number of projects by GTS for developing custom photonic glasses for use in lasers, optics, optical waveguides, and related applications.

Examples of other glasses developed by GTS include:

Laser glass for sensor applications – An eye-safe and temperature-insensitive glass suitable for use in a range of sensor applications.  Operates at 1530 nm and is designed for use in diode-pumped solid-state laser systems (DPSSs).

Laser glass for ultrafast laser applications (1530 nm) – A temperature-insensitive glass suitable for mode-locked ultrafast operation.  Operating at 1530 nm, this glass has been optimized for use in ultrafast laser systems and could also be used in applications such as secure communications, microscopy, and micromachining.

Laser glass for ultrafast laser applications (1030 nm) – A tunable glass suitable for both continuous-wave and mode-locked ultrafast operation.  Operating at 1030 nm, this glass has been optimized for use in ultrafast laser systems and could be used in applications including microscopy and micromachining, as well as imaging techniques such as optical-coherence tomography (OCT).

Laser glass for flashlamp-pumped systems – A glass suitable for use in older flashlamp-pumped solid-state laser systems, as used in a range of sensor technologies. Operates at 1530 nm.

Glasses for use in waveguides – A variety of glasses containing dopants such as Nd3+, Er3+, or Yb3+ that have been optimized for use in waveguide applications.  These can be paired with glasses with close refractive index matches and controlled values of dn/dT (thermal coefficient of refractive index).

Source: Glass Technology Services

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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